by Neil W. McCabe
Naomi Beth Seligman, the left-wing PR specialist, who helped CIA clerk Valerie Plame deceive the nation, is at it again, and this time she is going after gun makers and video game producers.
Seligman was hired by Plame to spin to the media that the Bush administration leaked her name and endangered her life because she was against the war in Iraq. A self-centered and twisted fantasy as the facts finally bared out.
Anti-gun rights paymaster, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, through one of his front groups: Moms Demand Action (for Gun Sense in America), hired the Bay State-raised resident of Santa Monica, Calif., to pressure video games to stop using realistic guns.
Don’t laugh, there is actually movement in that direction.
In May, video game giant Electronic Arts, maker of “Madden NFL” and the “Medal of Honor” series announced that in the future it would not pay licensing fees to gun manufacturers whose guns they used in their video games. Whoa! Big news, right? Well, kinda. Turns out the company had never paid royalties in the past either.
The one thing it had done was partner with the makers of guns used in the games to donate money to veteran-related charity. Well, that program was shut down.
The only money that changed hands was from MacMillan, maker of the .50 caliber sniper rifle, and Magpul, maker of the high-end extended magazines, was from the gun makers to veterans.
To Seligman, who also works for the Bloomberg-led Mayors Against Illegal Guns, EA’s decision is progress. Remember, veteran lost out and everything goes on as before.
With Seligman at the helm, Moms Demand Action released a report June 18 “Game Over: Resetting the Relationship Between Video Game and Gun Manufacturers was produced by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Gun Truth Project.” The report is 16-page mishmash of pseudo-social science all suggesting that playing video games with realistic guns leads to the video game player becoming a spree shooter.
In one passage the report reads: “Adam Lanza was also reportedly an avid player of that game, which features a number of rifles made by Bushmaster. Lanza later used a Bushmaster .233 caliber to kill 26 people, including 20 elementary school children, in Newtown, Connecticut.”
Did you follow the bouncing ball? Lanza played a game that used rifles made by Bushmaster, Lanza used a Bushmaster rifle—but, not one used in the game—to kill 26 people, including 20 children.
How is that for proof?
Another passage that refers to the spree shootings in Norway and Newtown: “To be clear, violent video games were not the cause of either of these tragedies. But one can certainly see the link between the promotion of actual, real life weapons in video games and the way in which the shootings were carried out.” Right?
One can also certainly see that if someone, anyone at those shooting tragedies had been armed themselves the situation could have been stopped all together.
Another passage in the report reads: “For the sake of public safety, and the safety of their customers, the makers of these games should not enter into deals that connect fantasy to reality, promote the gun industry and spark ideas in the heads of individuals inclined to mass violence.”
This is just more nonsense. There no public safety connection between licensing deals, let alone sparks that lead to mass violence.
One of the things lost in the current debate over gun rights is that there must be a higher threshold for tampering with a right guaranteed in the Constitution. There is a process for changing the Constitution, but it is through amendments, not through the bullying of companies by left-wing media pranksters.
Sure, maybe the “Founding Founders” were silent on video games, but the Left is going after video games in order disrupt the acceptance of firearms in America.
Moms Demand Action and Seligman are trying to do with the phony-baloney report is leverage generate shame and sanction to do what they cannot achieve through the regular democratic process.
This time when they look at the score it reads: “TILT!”
[This article first appears at CanadaFreePress.com.]
Congress has begun working through the final passage of a comprehensive immigration bill and regardless of what you have heard, the fix is in. There will be a bill and if you took the time to read it, not only would you hate it, you might be the only one to complete the assignment.
Spoiler alert: The leadership will make sure the bill passes, no matter what it says.
Here are some scary numbers:
A study by the Heritage Foundation, authored by Robert Rector and Jason Richwine, estimated that in 2010 the average illegal alien family received $24,721 in government benefits and services, while contributing just over $10,387 in taxes.
Upon amnesty, these aliens will be granted free and open access to some 80 different means-tested welfare programs, including Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare. Not only blowing the budgetary gaskets of these programs, but more importantly for Democrats expanding the payrolls of the middle-class bureaucrats and paper-shufflers.
Rector and Richwine estimate that even if new immigrants are not allowed to feed at the trough for 13 years, because of their limited skill sets, the average alien legalized in the bill will receive nearly $600,000 in government benefits than he will pay in taxes.
It seems like we should check with China first to make sure they are willing to cover the freight, no?
This situation will be further exasperated by the fact that newly documented workers will drive down real wages of regular Americans.
In Congress today, there are two redoubts for conservatives to defend their principles, conservatives in the Senate and the GOP majority in the House.
In the Senate, it is the cadre forming around senators Rand H. Paul (R.-Ky.), Michael S. Lee (R.-Utah) and R. Edward “Ted” Cruz (R.-Texas). Other colleagues fall in and out of their formation depending on the issues and interests at stake, but in the main they are the steadiest, most effective conservative in the upper chamber.
Even when a bill passes the Senate, House Republicans watching these three men pick up where they left off making the House a place where bad legislation dies.
What is different this time is that the House GOP leadership has already told Paul, Lee and Cruz they are taking the deal and taking the dive. Some on the House side have gone so far as to say that if conservative in the House or Senate make too much noise, the leadership will attack them as out-of-step troublemakers.
Look for the Senate to pass its version of the bill before the July 4 recess. The House will begin its own proceedings on immigration soon and may have its bill done before the Senate, since there are not nearly the procedurals devices available in the lower chamber to slow down a bill leadership wants to pass.
Remember, dear reader, Republicans are not conservatives. Republicans are politicians and their party is where conservatives are most comfortable right now. Republicans are people who take checks from the Chamber of Commerce, so if American business needs cheap engineers, nannies and lettuce-pickers, guess what Republicans will support?
Another characteristic about Republicans is they crave acceptance. They wander the halls of Capitol Hill asking each other: “What don’t people like us?”
Somebody convinced the GOP leadership that if they support the immigration bill, people will like them, and that settled that. Of course, this is nonsense, but it is such sweet nonsense.
For conservatives, watching Republicans is like watching Lucy hold a football for Charlie Brown.
By Labor Day, the GOP leadership will have helped President Barack Obama turn his summer of scandal and retreat into a triumph with the signing of the immigration bill, and once again the Republicans will be flat on their back as Lucy laughs all the way home.
[This article originally appeared in the Canada Free Press.]
It is the resignation that cost Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., his job.
Despite having one of the easiest jobs in America, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray called it quits May 22—meaning Gov. Deval L. Patrick will not be succeeded by an accident-prone dolt, rather party regular William F. Galvin, the secretary of state, will serve as acting governor until the end of Patrick’s term in January 2015.
Just like Donald H. Rumsfeld could not be fired as Pentagon chief until his deputy Wolfowitz was sent to lead the World Bank and Richard M. Nixon could not be impeached until Spiro T. Agnew was dispatched, Patrick has been chained to his desk in Boston—a victim of his own succession.
Murray was a useful running mate. A supporter of abortion rights, who played up his Irish-Catholic upbringing, Murray was the figurehead mayor of the Bay State’s second city and was in many ways the proto-Biden for Patrick, who grew up in a poor black family with an absent father in Chicago’s South Side before earning scholarships to Milton (Mass.) Academy, Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
When President Barack Obama introduces Patrick to the nation, in a few weeks, it will be a real case of what philosopher Yogi Berra called: “Déjà vu all over again.”
Although the Obama’s 2004 was well-run, it really was during the Patrick’s 2006 campaign that David Axelrod and his sorcerer’s apprentice David Plouffe put the final touches on the methods they would use to put Obama in the White House, such as the use of new media and neurologically-tuned aspirational rhetoric.
Patrick slogan: “Together We Can” was just one tweak away from Obama’s “Yes, We Can.”
Patrick’s MySpace page supplemented his campaign website that was a cutting-edge platform with photos, position papers and videos. The site actively collected email addresses that fed the campaign’s email outreaches.
Rhetorically, the campaign’s biggest coup was Axelrod’s burglary of the word: Hope from the House of Clinton. William J. Clinton was the “Man from Hope, Arkansas,” who “still believed in a place called: Hope,” especially when he awarded students the Hope Scholarships.
In his speech to the state party’s 2006 convention, Patrick used the word 11 times, and in a key passage said: “I’m not asking you to take a chance on me, I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations. Take a chance on hope.”
When he ran for president in 2008, Obama used the same line: “I’m not asking you to take a chance on me. I’m also asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations.”
“Hope” was deployed so many times, so many ways by Axelrod during the 2008 Obama campaign, you would have never known it was once another camp’s calling card.
Flummoxed, the former first lady charged Obama with copying Patrick—not her husband—but, friends, it cannot really be plagiarism if the words were written by the same man.
Plagiarism, of course brings us to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who in his 1988 campaign for president ripped off both Robert F. Kennedy and British Labour Party leader Neil G. Kinnock, which brings us back to Murray.
The price for Murray’s May 22 resignation was a $200,000-a-year job with the Worcester Chamber of Commerce. Nice how things work out?
[The article first appeared in the American Thinker.]
In the midst of everything else that is going on in Washington, the House Judiciary Committee has begun its overhaul of the nation's copyright laws.
If Congress can undo the damage done in 1998 with the Copyright Term Extension Act, it will synch up our copyright regime with its constitutional intent and set up our economy for a next stage booster.
The opening move towards reform on Capitol Hill came in November when a young staffer for the Republican Study Committee, the 170-member conservative caucus that forms the majority of the majority in the House, circulated a policy memo calling for a return to more limited copyrights.
The aide, Derek Khanna, was not fired as is still reported, but the memo was withdrawn and he was not asked to stay on for the current congressional session. This does not mean he was deterred -- after the memo was withdrawn, he led the fight to decriminalize unlocking your cellphone
Khanna, now a Yale Law School fellow, said he is encouraged by both the House Judiciary Committee opening the door for reform and statements by the Registrar of Copyrights Marybeth Peters supporting reform.
The key concern for Khanna is that copyrights return to what the Framers intended.
In Article 1, Section 8, subsection 8 of the Constitution, the Framers empowered Congress: "To promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
The idea is simple. Exclusivity creates incentive for artist to innovate, and move society forward, but in America there would not be feudal rights held in perpetuum as there still exists today in Europe.
Intellectual property is why America's economy survives and thrives after the steel mills left Pittsburgh and the sweatshops left Manhattan. The money is in the design, not the fabrication.
We do not have a service economy. We have an IP economy.
Two books side-by-side cost relatively the same to produce in ink, paper, and labor. But if one book is Gone with the Wind and the other is A New Look at Nova Scotia Chalkboards and Chalk. You can see that how an author configured all that ink into words and narrative makes all the difference.
Now forget the cost of paper and ink and consider what happens to prices and profits when the book, or movie or magazine or song, goes digital and the electrons are virtually free.
Now consider how easy it is to pirate creative works.
The day before I left Kuwait for duty in Iraq, I came very close to buying the complete set of "The Sopranos" for $350 at the Army store. I am glad I waited. Two days later at Camp Liberty, I bought the same set for $7 from a local merchant. Not bad. In addition to shows and music, the merchant was selling Adobe Creative Suite 4 for $3.
My generous take on my own crime is that if the set cost $100, I would have bought on the spot -- even if I knew a $7 version was waiting for me on a shelf. I want to be a legal consumer. But I will not get rooked.
Eventually all works pass into the public domain, where like Shakespeare, Mozart, and Walt Whitman, they belong to the collective. As works approach the public domain, copyright holders have the incentive to charge a fair price while they can.
Another quirk of our copyright laws is how royalties for recorded performances are paid and not paid on the radio. Platforms providing the exact same service pay exponentially different rates.
This disparity is the work of the Copyright Royalty Board, the three-man panel appointed by the Librarian of Congress (apparently for life) James H. Billington.
The most glaring example of our broken copyright regime is the CRB's ruling that Internet radio stations, or what it calls non-interactive transmitters, such as Slacker Radio and Pandora, pay 50 percent of their sales in performance royalties.
Khanna asserts that the process is a form of state-directed industrial policy. "The process for defining rates for Pandora is arbitrary and seems to deliberately subsidize older technology versus new competitors," he said. "It makes little sense for satellite radio to pay one rate while new, and likely more efficient, market participants have to pay significantly more money in royalties... It's a farce to claim that this disparity in rates represents a free market; rather, this system is government picking winners and losers."
In 1790, Congress set the term of a copyright at 14 years, and if the author was still alive, he could apply for a 14-year renewal. In the next 200 years, the terms were expanded to 28 years with a 28-year renewal.
The 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act took the 28-year term and the intent of the Framers and tossed them out the window. Now a copyright for a work created after 1978 has a copyright term of the life of the author plus 70 years -- effectively keeping a creative work out of the public domain for at least three generations.
Works created after 1923 and still under copyright were automatically extended until a 2019 sunset, which no doubt pleased lobbyists for the George Gershwin estate. Its biggest cash cow, "Rhapsody in Blue" was written in 1924.
Disney's lobbyists were surely whistling while they worked, because the CETA kept Mickey Mouse, first drawn in 1928, in its licensing cage for another 20 years, too.
When President William J. Clinton signed the bill, it was named for its chief sponsor, singer-songwriter Salvatore "Sonny" Bono, who until his skiing death in January 1998 was a California congressman.
Bono's widow Mary succeeded him in Congress and fought for the bill as a memorial to her popular husband -- although she did make the point that Sonny always really wanted to make copyrights forever. Well, of course he did.
There is a libertarian argument to be made for no copyright protection whatsoever. In that scheme, ideas would flow, like capital, to their highest best use, without a copyright's statutory drag on commerce. But, it could also keep our best minds from getting out of bed in the morning, too.
The realistic path is for Congress to dial back the excesses of the Gershwin-Disney-Bono great leap towards feudalism.
The current copyright regime is a mishmash that provides extraordinary copyrights that would have kept Mozart's compositions out of the public domain until 1881 and treats a booming industry like Internet radio with a royalty schedule that makes the business unsustainable.
The first step Congress takes should be to abolish the Copyright Royalty Board that functions as a star chamber in the back offices of the Library of Congress, picking winners and losers and pushing and pulling billions of dollars around the economy based on whims. The second step is to dial back copyright terms to promote the confluence of the arts.
Reasonable copyrights for creators and innovators will foster creativity and innovations, but also produce an environment where the unpredictable and unexpected explode out of the clash of concepts and ideas that turn the orderly marketplace into an intellectual bazaar.Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/fixing_our_mickey_mouse_copyright_laws.html#ixzz2VV8dOvbg